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  1. Calliope

    Seeking to catch and eventually deter addicts who steal painkillers, the New York Police Department will stock pharmacy shelves with decoy pill bottles that contain tracking devices.

    The novel response to a deadly increase in pharmacy robberies and burglaries over the last half decade appears to draw its inspiration from a tactic banks use: handing over a bundle of bills loaded with an exploding dye pack that stains both the cash and the robber red.

    The decoy pill bottles appear to be sealed bottles of oxycodone, a powerful narcotic painkiller that is widely abused, according to remarks that the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, made on Tuesday. The bottles will not actually contain any painkillers. Inside each bottle, however, will be a GPS device that will allow detectives to track thieves in the period immediately after a robbery or burglary.

    “We would anticipate the burglar and robber will take numerous bottles, and among them will be the bait bottle,” the department’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said.

    The bottles are weighted and rattle when shaken, so a thief would not initially realize they did not contain pills. Each of the decoy bottles sits atop a special base, and when the bottle is lifted from the base, it begins to emit a tracking signal, Mr. Browne said.

    “We would like to get all 1,800 pharmacies in New York City to sign up,” he said, adding that the department hoped to have the program in place by March.

    The decoy bottles were developed by Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, a brand of oxycodone, Mr. Browne said, adding that they were already in use in some pharmacies in the United States. He said that the pharmaceutical company currently relied on another company to track the bottles, but that the Police Department intended to take over that responsibility in New York.

    A Purdue Pharma spokeswoman, Libby Holman, said that the company was working closely with the police in New York, but that “it would not be appropriate” to disclose details.

    Mr. Kelly announced the initiative at a Clinton Foundation conference in California.

    The initiative comes as authorities across New York State are grappling with a rash of deadly pharmacy robberies. In April, two men robbed a pharmacy at gunpoint in East Harlem, seeking OxyContin and Percocet. After one of the robbers fired at responding police officers, he was shot dead by a retired officer who happened to be filling his car at a nearby gasoline station.

    And on Long Island, a man murdered a pharmacist, a clerk and two customers in the course of stealing thousands of pain pills from the Haven Drugs pharmacy in Medford in June 2011. Some six months later, an off-duty federal agent, John Capano, was killed foiling a robbery at Charlie’s Family Pharmacy in Seaford.

    Craig Burridge, the executive director of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York, said such decoy bottles were already in use in pharmacies in Suffolk County. He called the bottles a “clever and cost-effective” way to confront the rise in violent crimes at pharmacies.

    A Suffolk County detective lieutenant, Robert Donohue, said in a statement that the county’s Police Department was using “various technologies to reduce pharmacy robberies and apprehend and prosecute offenders.”

    The advent of the decoy bottles has led the New York Police Department to consider a somewhat fanciful idea: that the police may one day be able to track not just bottles, but also individual pills.

    By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN
    NYTimes
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/n...rack-drugstore-robbers-via-decoy-bottles.html

Comments

  1. TheBigBadWolf
    The tactics with bait cars against thieves of automobiles seems to have worked - so we get from the news in Europe..

    In how far this is compareable to pharmacy robberies will be showed by the future experiences.

    What bothers me is how the police can be so naive to bring their tactics out in public - would they believe any addicted pharm-robber would leave the pill bottles alone? How many pharmacies are out there and how many GPS devices does LE want to stock in shelves in pharmacies all over the country- and who wants to pay for them, not talking about the officers tracking the robbers to their homes...?

    If there's any sense in this, please someone explaine it to an america-naive European...

    Thanks in advance.

    BBW
  2. Phaeton
    Not to discuss pricing, but a GPS device in the special bottle is going to be worth so much less than 100 oxycontin pills as to be a non issue.

    And since the robbery is for just that type medicine, yes they will take it or they will have to open every single bottle being stolen.
    The time that would take works for the police as well.

    Going public does not cut down the effectiveness of the program. The more intelligent thieves will think over alternate plans to gain drugs before rampaging, reducing this particular crime.

    Sounds win-win for law enforcement.
  3. source
    GPS pill bottles to track prescription drug thieves

    [imgl=white]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=31048&stc=1&d=1358453073[/imgl]The New York Police Department wants to combat prescription drug theft by getting pharmacies to fit some pill bottles with GPS trackers.

    These "bait bottles" would be mixed in with legitimate pill bottles so that when the pharmacy is robbed, the police are able to track the bottles back to the perpetrators. This would help crack crime rings of people stealing and trafficking prescription drugs.

    Police commissioner Raymond Kelly explained the proposal at a California conference called Health Matters this week. In a statement released before the commissioner's appearance at the conference, he explained that the initiative followed a series of high-profile crimes in recent years driven by the black market for prescription drugs, such as oxycodone. In 2011, a David Laffer robbed a pharmacy in Long Island for 8,000 hydrocodone pills, killing two employees and two customers in the process. Since then there have been a series of other violent robberies.

    The commissioner said that prescription drug abuse can be a "gateway to criminal activities, especially among young people". He said that when it becomes too expensive to feed a prescription drug habit, people can turn to "cheaper drugs" such as heroin and cocaine, and use crime to support their habit.

    The police department is building a database of the city's 1,800 pharmacies and will be contacting them to encourage them to install better alarm systems and adopt the GPS devices.

    The devices will be supplied by Purdue Pharma, the company that manufactures popular oxycodone brand OxyContin.

    GPS trackers have been used elsewhere in the country to successfully track down pharmacy robbers. They've also been used for slightly less sinister reasons. Nestlé placed tracking devices in chocolate bars in a modern day Willy Wonka promotion called "We Will Find You". Buyers of the "lucky" chocolate bars were tracked down by the confectionary company and awarded prizes.

    Prior to that a similar gimmick had been tried by Unilever in Brazil. GPS trackers were embedded in boxes of Omo detergent, and winners were awarded a video camera and a day of "Unilever-sponsored outdoor fun".


    By Olivia Solon, wired.co.uk
    16 January 13

    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-01/16/gps-pill-bottles
  4. Cartoon_Pickle
    Re: GPS pill bottles to track prescription drug thieves

    Sounds like just another "look what I'm doing for the war on drugs" spiel to me. Now that they've announced to the world that they may be doing this, smart criminals will be emptying and dumping the GPS equipped bottles in the nearest trash bin. While the police will be utilizing manpower that could be used to finding kidnapped children, murderers, etc. out looking for pill bottles that were stolen.

    And I'm sure that the pharmaceutical companies won't pass on the expense of doing this to the customers, right? {sarcastic reply here}

    Great way to spend taxpayers money. :rolleyes:
  5. Phaeton
    Similar to the 'Mutually Assured Destruction' policy used by governments, this pill bottle substitution will only work if all parties concerned are aware.

    The persons utilizing the pharmacies are mostly insured and do not pay out of pocket, the street prices should go way up with reduced availablility.
    Rising street prices are a measure police departments use to gauge efficiency.

    The laws making this necessary are silly, but since we are stuck with the silly laws for the present this measure will help keep violence out of the drugstores. Not all of it, but some.

    The guys shooting folks in pharmacies are not taking one or two bottles and emptying them into their coat pockets.
    They are filling up bags to make the crime worthwhile. Shooting a clerk for one bottle of pills is not cost effective.

    The ramped up police activity is not worth it, dealers trying to make a living would hate that.
  6. runnerupbeautyqueen
    I like this idea. Especially if it helps track down a person who just committed murder. Pharmacists shouldn't be dying like soldiers.

    I don't see how someone who had just robbed a pharmacy would be able to get away from the scene of the crime while checking the bottles for the gps device. I would think the criminals number one priority would be to get the fuck out of there first and foremost. Even if they did, what are the odds the criminal opens the right bottle in time? (In time = before the cops catch up). Even if you had a getaway car filled with 5 people to go through the bottles I would imagine it would still take at least a few minutes for them to go through all the bottles. Plus then the pills would need to be split among 6 people instead of one.
  7. coolhandluke
    this wouldn't stop robberies, they've had dye packs in banks for decades and banks still get robbed, and people get away with it.

    to get around this a robber could bring a metal detector with, wave each bottle over it, and leave the one that beeps behind, or better yet slip it into some old ladies purse or toss it in the bed of a pick up truck thats running and let the cops swarm on some civilian like a bunch of idiots while your far away.
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